North Dakota RN Requirements and Training Programs

Nursing is a rewarding, exciting, and challenging career. By saving the lives of others, developing lifelong relationships, and offering emotional and physical comfort to patients, nurses enrich their own lives. The profession is one of only a few that offers multiple paths to entry, job security, diversity, and numerous opportunities for advancement. Add the current shortage of nurses to the picture, and you’ll see that it’s a great time to become a nurse.

There’s a shortage of nurses in North Dakota. According to the North Dakota Center for Nursing, the state will need an additional 4,030 registered nurses by 2024. Although the associate degree in nursing (ADN) and baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN) programs attempt to educate and prepare nurses to fill these positions, the state cannot keep up with the health care demands. The shortage in North Dakota and the rest of the nation shows that the profession is poised to play a key role in the United States healthcare system, especially as more of the population gain access to healthcare.

The nursing shortage places new graduates, including those graduating from the ADN program, in a strong position during the job hunt. Employers tend to overlook RNs with the associate degree in favor of those with a baccalaureate degree, but in the face of the shortage, even ADN graduates have a chance at employment in medical facilities located in rural and urban areas. Still, the associate degree should be considered just a first step on the nursing career ladder. The program produces professionals who have an appropriate level of skills and knowledge to meet the rising demand for healthcare services. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), nurses who want to provide better patient care and lower mortality rates and reduce errors will consider the BSN program.

Education Requirements

The entry-level ADN program can be completed in two years and leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing. The curriculum covers classroom instruction delivered in a traditional classroom setting or via online learning and clinical experiences at local hospitals, community healthcare settings, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities. Students have the opportunity to develop specialized skills through supervised practice in emergency rooms, ICU, Med/Surgical settings, and operating rooms.

Both classroom and clinical instruction will cover maternal-child nursing, adult health nursing, medical-surgical nursing, community health, geriatric nursing, and pediatric nursing. Students will also learn role transition, professional development, alterations in health, health promotion and psychology, developmental psychology, and pharmacology. The courses are designed to prepare students to deliver safe and quality care to patients, families, and communities across their lifespan in various settings.

Graduates of the program must complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to complete the requirements for licensure as a registered nurse in North Dakota. They are thus prepared to practice and fill the high demand for nurses in the state.

Eligibility Criteria

With an applicant rejection rate of 51 percent, admission to a nursing program is competitive so requires careful thought and planning. Preparatory courses in science and math and experience in health care in the capacity of a Certified Nursing Assistant, Medical Assistant, paramedic, or another profession can improve your chances of acceptance. The selection committee will choose candidates based on demonstration of their ability to complete the rigorous coursework. Physical, mental, and emotional readiness is also critical. A physical exam, drug screen, and criminal history check will be required for participation in the program’s clinical experience. Admission will depend on the outcome of the criminal history check. Also, conviction of certain offenses could impair your eligibility for licensure in North Dakota.

General entry requirements include:

  • A completed application for undergraduate study and separate request for admission to the nursing program
  • Attend a mandatory information session
  • Official high school and college transcripts submitted directly to the school
  • Complete the prerequisite courses with a grade C or above
  • Pass a pre-entrance exam
  • Complete a criminal history check, TB testing, physical exam, and drug screen for the clinical practicum

Duration and Cost

Tuition in North Dakota costs approximately $3,800 per year. Fees and tuition to complete the associate degree in nursing program will total approximately $7,600. The cost does not reflect expenses for textbooks, nursing supplies, admission testing, physical exam, immunization, background check, health insurance, CPR certification, and prerequisite courses. Financial aid is available for qualifying students.

North Dakota RN Licensure Requirements

As a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, the North Dakota Board of Nursing accepts applications for licensure from individuals who live in North Dakota, a non-compact state, or country outside the U.S. Proof of residency must be submitted with the application. If your primary state of residence is another compact state, you will not be eligible for licensure in North Dakota. The NLC defines the primary state of residence as your “home state” or your “declared fixed permanent and principal home for legal purposes.”

All applicants for licensure must submit to a Criminal History Record Check, provide a valid US Social Security Number, and evidence of completing an approved registered nursing program.

Licensure By Examination

Before applying for the licensure exam in North Dakota, you must have a valid US Social Security Number and have completed a board-approved nursing education program in the state or a nursing program in another state that is approved by that state’s Board of Nursing and includes a supervised clinical experience across the life span. The program’s curriculum must be equivalent to the amount of time specified for ND state-approved programs.

If you have not yet taken an RN licensure exam and want to have ND as your initial state of licensure, submit the following the Board of Nursing:

  • A completed initial application for the licensure exam – submit online
  • The non-refundable initial exam/processing fee of $130. At the conclusion of the online application, you will be prompted to pay the fee using a credit or debit card.
  • Official transcripts – request your official transcript of your grades to be sent directly to the Board of Nursing office. A Request for Release of Transcript form is available on the Board’s website. Transcripts may also be sent electronically through the National Student Clearing House
  • Register with NCLEX Candidate Services for the exam. You may register online at www.pearsonvue.com/nclex or by phone 1-866-496-2539. The registration fee is $200
  • Complete a Criminal History Record Check according to the following instructions:
    • Make an appointment to get fingerprinted at a local law enforcement or private agency
    • Use the standard FBI Applicant card (FD-258) for fingerprints
    • Indicate your full name, your signature, aliases, date of birth, home address, citizenship, race, height, eye color, weight, place of birth, social security number, and date of the prints. The official taking fingerprints must sign the card
    • Submit the completed fingerprint cards, Criminal History Record Check form, and money order or cashier’s check for $40 made out to BCI.
    • The Board will submit the information to BCI and collect the results

You may track the progress of your application online in the “Application Status” tab on the website. Dates will be displayed only when the Board receives the application and accompanying documents.

NCLEX- Authorization to Test

Once you’ve submitted all the required information to the Board and registered for the NCLEX, you will receive the Authorization to Test (ATT) after the Board deems you eligible for licensure. The ATT is your notice to schedule your exam at a Pearson Professional Center. Check the letter and make it reflects your name as it is on your ID, the authorization period, the exam you’re registered to take, and any special accommodations. Schedule a test date within the 90-day period specified. You will not be admitted to the exam if your ID does not match the name on the ATT.

Work Authorization

The Board of Nursing will issue a Work Authorization to graduate nurses after receiving a completed application, fee, transcripts, and fingerprint cards. The Work Authorization is required to attend an orientation or practice as a graduate nurse and is valid for 90 days or until you receive notification of your test results – whichever comes first. It is not renewable and available only to those who apply for licensure within 60 days of graduation. The Board does not issue a paper authorization, so you must check online in the Verify section of the website to confirm your status.

Licensure By Endorsement

To qualify for licensure by endorsement in North Dakota, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Completed a registered nursing program that includes supervised clinical experience across the life span
  • Have completed the program in the past four years or have completed an approved board refresher course or have at least 400 hours of registered nursing practice in the last for years

Submit the following to apply for licensure by endorsement in North Dakota:

  • A completed initial application for licensure by endorsement
  • The non-refundable initial application processing fee of $160. At the conclusion of the online application, you will be prompted to pay the fee using a credit or debit card.
  • Official transcripts – request your official transcript of your grades to be sent directly to the Board of Nursing office. A Request for Release of Transcript form is available on the Board’s website. Transcripts may also be sent electronically through the National Student Clearing House
  • Proof of initial licensure by exam – the exam must meet ND requirements for licensure examinations
  • Complete a Criminal History Record Check according to the following instructions:
    • Make an appointment to get fingerprinted at a local law enforcement or private agency
    • Use the standard FBI Applicant card (FD-258) for fingerprints
    • Indicate your full name, your signature, aliases, date of birth, home address, citizenship, race, height, eye color, weight, place of birth, social security number, and date of the prints. The official taking fingerprints must sign the card
    • Submit the completed fingerprint cards, Criminal History Record Check form, and money order or cashier’s check for $40 made out to BCI.
    • The Board will submit the information to BCI and collect the results

Your application will be forfeited if you do not complete the application process in one year. If you wish to continue with the endorsement process, you’ll need to submit a new application.

Temporary Permit

Endorsement candidates may be eligible for a 90-day temporary permit. The Board must receive the initial endorsement application and fee and verification of licensure or official transcripts to issue the permit. No paper permits are available. You must use the Verify section of the site to confirm the status of your permit.

Renewal Requirements

Nurses must complete a total of 400 hours of practice within the preceding four years to qualify for renewal of their licenses. If you completed a refresher course within the preceding year or graduated from a nursing program within the last four years, you will be exempt from the practice requirements.

Licenses expire on December 31 biennially, and online renewal opens from October and continues till December. The fee for RN renewal is $120.

For online renewal, you must have your RN license number, social security number, number of hours worked in the current and previous year, and a credit or debit card, PayPal account, or checking account to submit the payment.

You may submit name or address changes during the online renewal. The Board will not mail a hard copy of your license. Use the Verify tab on the website to confirm the status of license.

Continuing Education Requirements for North Dakota RNs

Registered nurses must verify that they’ve completed the continuing education requirements by certification on the renewal form. For the purpose of renewal or reactivation of a license, RNs must complete 12 contact hours of continuing education within the preceding two years.

Applicants for reactivation of a license can use the contact hours completed in a refresher course for the first renewal cycle after reactivation.

The Board of Nursing conducts random audits on 2 percent of renewal applicants during each cycle. If you receive a notice of audit during your online renewal, you must send copies of your CE records and the Notice of Continuing Education Audit Form to the Board. Falsified documents or failure to meet the CE requirements will result in disciplinary action.

North Dakota Salary and Job Outlook

As the aging population drives the need for more nurses, the health care system is seeking to take care out of the hospital walls. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a rise in employment of registered nurses but at the same time reports worsening shortages in the field. The employment rate stood at 2,955,200 in 2016 and is expected to increase by 437,000 by 2026. On a national level, the shortage is a direct result of the surge in the baby boomer population, the volume of nurses that are approaching retirement, and greater access to health care. Statewide, the projections are just as positive for new nurses. According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, there will be 4,430 openings for registered nurses through 2020.

Hospitals across North Dakota are hiring younger, associate degree prepared nurses and international nurses to meet their needs. Registered nurses can also expect sign-on bonuses and attractive remuneration packages – when they’ve earned at least one year’s experience. There’s also a growth in jobs in outpatient centers, assisted living facilities, and long-term care facilities.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 report, registered nurses in North Dakota earned an annual mean wage of $50,760.

Contact the Board of Nursing
North Dakota Board of Nursing
ND Board of Nursing
919 S 7th St
Suite 504
Bismarck, ND 58504-5881

Phone: 701-328-9777
Fax: 701-328-9785
Email: [email protected]

North Dakota Registered Nursing Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:

Bismarck, ND ADN programs:
Bismarck State College
PO Box 5587, Bismarck ND 58506-5587
(800) 445-5073
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.75%

Bottineau, ND ADN programs:
Dakota College at Bottineau
105 Simrall Boulevard, Bottineau ND 58318-1159
(800) 542-6866
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80%

Devils Lake, ND ADN programs:
Lake Region State College
1801 N College Dr, Devils Lake ND 58301
(701) 662-1569
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.48%

Wahpeton, ND ADN programs:
ND State College of Science
800 6th St N, Wahpeton ND 58075-3602
(701) 671-2967
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.75%

Williston, ND ADN programs:
Williston State College
PO Box 1326, Williston ND 58801-1326
(701) 774-4290
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.11%

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